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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Christian Conjurer - the good, bad & ugly (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kerry Kistler
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Hi Gang,

If you are an FCM member you know that with your annual dues come 6 issues of the Conjurer magazine. But do you find the mag worth your time and money? How does it serve your needs? How does it fail?

This is just an informal poll to see how you feel about our publication - where you see its strengths and weaknesses. What should be added? What should go? What are your positive praises and pet peeves? Here's a chance for you to sound off.

We would love to read your gut-level honesty on any issue. I'm not pursuing some personal agenda or lobbying effort - just looking for feedback from the field as to readers' opinions of the CC. Lots of work goes into each issue (as our editor will confirm) and every contributing writer wants the same thing for the magazine: to be a valuable resource that is eagerly read and helpfully relevant.

So, how can we improve things?

Cheerio,
Kerry
Steve Brooks
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Great topic. As a FCM member myself, I offer a few things to ponder...

While I certainly realize the amount of work that goes into creating something like the Conjurer magazine, I think there are several areas in which the club magazine could be improved.

1) Content: Let me clarify a bit. While each issue includes a variety of topics and columns, none of the articles are very long at all. I would prefer to see fewer topics/columns and more content/information in the ones that are included.

2) Physical Size: I'm sure this is most definately a financial issue BUT, I bet most folks would prefer to see the magazine in a bigger format, such as MAGIC, GENII and MUM. The large size would also allow more room for better graphics, extensive articles (more advertising?) etc. I can't speak for all FCM members, but I personally would not mind paying a little more in dues each year if it meant improving the magazine. Smile

3) Monthly?: Receiving an issue each month would be an improvement over the six issues a year. Again, a little higher dues or allowing for more adverts might be a practical solution.

Okay, that was just a few items I could think of at the moment and I'm sure there will be others who have suggestions as well. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Neale Bacon
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I would like to see more on vent (though that's just from my perspective) because a lot of FCM members do vent too.

I like the size because it fits in my brefcase to read on the bus to work. I don't know if bigger is better, but I am open to it.

I like the varied content but maybe more useable material and less profiles.

And on another personal note - Hi Captain Kistler from a soldier of the Cariboo Hill Temple Corp, Burnaby BC (BC Division)
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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Joey Evans
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Kerry,
First let me say, I hope to see you there again this year. I enjoyed our conversations. I'll be doing the late show again, so I'll try to catch up with you there.
I agree with much of what Steve said. The size is one of the reasons I don't put it with my magazines, but if this is a big price consideration, I understand.

Another thing, I would like to see more Parade type sections, with members sending in routines. This would give us a lot more variety in performing styles instead of having the same styles over and over. Also the parade format is good, because you can get the best from many people.
I still look forward to my CC every month, but with these improvements, I would probably read them a lot more.

Thanks!

Joey
The Visual Comedy and Magic of Joey Evans

http://www.Evansmagic.com/



The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
Rickfcm
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lower Michigan
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We need more people to contribute ideas. I have shared many routines over the years but there are many more that people have created and they can share too. 99% of my magic is used for teaching Sunday school and I am always looking for more ideas.
Rick
paulmagic
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As a Malaysian member (whose membership has now lapsed ... oops) I don't find it value for money. VERY little stuff I can use that will help me improve. There were a few good articles, like the one by David Breth? on being an entertainer first.
I agree with Rickfcm that it needs more ideas.

But I don't subscribe to other magic magazines so I have nothing to compare ...

As for FCM as a whole, I appreciate the following FCM Magicians who came to Malaysia a few times over the last 6 to 7 years to lecture and inspire - especially Steve Varro, Paul Ricksecker and Sheldon Rhodes.
Paul Ricksecker (aka Hoby Tyler) in particular is a special inspiration to me as magician, clown (though I am not into clowning) and a generous delightful and humble man of God.

Thank you to you all as I am into magic mainly for Gospel /Teaching purposes.
Many Blessings!!

Paul
Daniel Faith
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Since the organization is FCM I would rather it focus strictly on magic. No puppetry or clowns or vents, etc...Most of the material in the magazine is of no
interest to me. It's the Fellowship of Chistian Magicians not Fellowship of Christian Entertainers. This is the main reason I didn't renew my membership.

I would like to see Stage level Christian illusion ideas. Nearly everything I've read in there is all Sunday school type effects which are good but there is nothing else to offer.

The size didn't bother me.
Daniel Faith
Kerry Kistler
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GREAT FEEDBACK! Keep it coming!

I have alerted Mike Stenberg (CC editor) to this thread so he may drop in to offer his own responses. He does not have a thin skin and welcomes your honesty - although making some of these proposed changes are clearly beyond his power. Still, he may be willing to take your ideas up the chain of command.

In the meantime, let me respond to some of your thoughts:

1. Steve, I agree with you on all three counts. However, as to Content, the magazine is entirely dependent on the voluntary contribution of articles. Mike prints what comes in - sometimes "as is" and sometimes with lots of editing to make it readable. But, without a budget to hire columnists/writers we are forced to read what Mike gets.

This is my way of saying "I agree" to what several of you have already said - we need more member-writers to contribute their best stuff. If you have a pet routine that you are willing to share, please, we want you to send it in. No, you won't get paid down here but your eternal paycheck will make up for it. Write! Submit! Ben Franklin said:

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing."

Thank you to Rick (and anyone else) for all of your submissions.

2. The issues of format size and frequency of publication are, I'm sure, driven by budget concerns. That's not to say your ideas are wrongheaded. I remember when the magagine WAS monthly, and I miss that. At some point, the decision was made to go bimonthly while doubling the page count. So we're getting the same amount of material, just half as often.

And, as a former graphic designer and commercial artist, I would love to see the mag upsized and packed with richer design and full color. Perhaps those changes could happen if the membership, as a whole, agreed to accept increased dues to cover the cost. I would, but perhaps many would not.

Still, I have seen incremental improvements in the mag over the years. I think adding a full-color cover was a smart move and I believe the interior graphics are tigher and sharper than they have ever been. I remember a time when nearly half the pages in each issue were wasted filler (like a full page for an application form, etc.). That kind of waste has been eliminated. At one time, a WHOLE ISSUE was dedicated to pre-convention informaton. This was a waste for those not attending the convention. That has been eliminated. So, positive changes have been made over time and I look forward to others being made.

3. What arts should be represented by the FCM and hence, reflected in the Conjurer. This is really a thorny problem. There have been efforts to "purify" the fellowship and make it a haven for magicians - since its name IS FCMagicians. I know the Twin Cities chapter is called the FCE(Entertainers). That discussion probably belongs in another thread. Who wants to start that one? ;o)

The magazine does take a shotgun approach in an attempt to hit each art as best it can. Some see this as its greatest strength, others as its greatest weakness. The main issue with most people who have responded here so far is about the material being USEABLE. But, when some readers do magic mainly for Sunday School, and others do mainly stage shows, when some are primarily ventriloquists or clowns or whatever, it gets tough. How can the Conjurer be all things to all people? As I say, it's a thorny problem. For ME, I look beyond the Conjurer to fill in the gaps. I also subscribe to Magic magazine and would also subscribe to a Chalk Art magazine, if one existed, since those are my main areas of performance.

4. On a personal note - Greetings Neale in BC. I hope Cariboo Hills will book us sometime so that we can meet in person - maybe we'll connect at the FCM International. Which, sorry Joey, we won't be there this year - planning on next. My kids are all upset because they won't be seeing you in action this year. They say you are one of the best parts of the convention ;o)

Keep it coming!
Cheerio,
Kerry
tomcat
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Just an idea but when I ran a college paper we would publish what a MAJORITY of our readership would want to read and put some of the minority stuff on a rotation basis in the paper itself and keep weekly articles going on our website. It costs us next to nothing to post articles every week and we had someone willing to write them for nothing. It made great sense and still met a need. Its an idea just to toss out there for the puppet and entertainer section.
mtso2000
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To email the magazine would cost next to nothing. I understand that not everyone has email. So you could mail to those who don't have email.
MagiKen
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OK, since I have not seen a Christian Conjurer in years, I therefore can't comment on anything recent. I first became a member in 1980 or 1981 and had continuous membership the Winnona Lake Years through the first Iowa convention. I lost my regular job in 1990 and went into magic full time for the first time. However, I had to let my memberships (FCM, IBM, SAM) lapse due to finances shortly after that. I have been a member off and on since then, more off than on. Even in the years when I was a member, I never received any more Conjurer Magazines. I thought it was no longer published; this was part of a business meeting discussion one year so it did not seem odd that I was no longer receiving them.

I plan to rejoin as soon as I hear back from the Stenbergs - I am already registered for the International Convention next month. It will be my first one I have been to since they left Grand Rapids/Calvin College and moved the convention back to Indiana.

I look forward to receiving the CC-Mag again, even if it has gone from monthly to a bi-monthly. As to on-line versions, I think that would be great. Perhaps we could alternate into a monthly format - one month print, alternate months on-line. Even then, making all accessible on line in a searchable format would be even better. Perhaps someone would be willing to put together a DISK OF ALL BACK ISSUES, maybe in ten-year increments and CHARGE FOR IT as a way of sponsoring the new endeavor. I would be willing to pay for at least the last ten years for sure. Just an idea.
Magic makes a difference when you care enough to make it magical
MagiKen
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PS. Although I am a magician, I am a Christian first. Therefore, I appreciate any method that teaches the gospel more effectively. Sometimes that is magic, sometimes it is not. I use magic, storytelling, puppetry, vent, chalk art, clowning, line drawing, paper folding and cutting (including origami and kiragami), balloons, and wish I could juggle (more than three quick successions), and other non-FCM focused arts like computer applications and PowerPoints, etc.

Guess where I learned to use half of these? FCM conventions and the CC-Mag! They have all enhanced my ability to teach and reach people with an attention grabbing, life changing message. That is what being a Christian is all about. It is what I think FCM should continue to be. Magic is not all tricks. A good chalk drawing or well told story is pure magic too. I say, keep them all and add more categories. Write the magazine based on who is willing to contribute as well as who the readers are. If some want more emphasis on "magic" then let them write or motivate others to write more in that area. That's my opinion anyway.
Magic makes a difference when you care enough to make it magical
Kerry Kistler
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Hey Ken,
I don't remember a time when the CC went into "remission". Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I have original issues going back to the early 70's and photo copies of nearly everything before that. However, there was a time in the 80's or 90's when my membership lapsed and I am missing some issues from that time.

Glad to have you aboard again. Hope you will submit some great articles soon after your membership is reactivated.

You are right - magic is not all tricks. When I am doing a chalk drawing and flip on the blacklight revealing a hidden drawing, the audience reaction is better than for any illusion I perform.

One question: If we keep all the catagories and add more should we be thinking about a name change?

Cheerio,
Kerry
FZandura
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I was an FCM member about 2-3 years ago. At that time I was constantly traveling, so the main thing a join for was the CC magazine. Since magic was the only facet that I was involved/interested in, I got limited use out of the magazine. I was not expecting it to be Genii, or Magic, but I thought it would be something a long the lines of a Christian IBM/SAM mag. I'd like to support the FCM, so maybe I'll give it another try.
F. Zandura
fogelka
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Here's what I think would make the CC a huge value. Someone or a group of someones could author a section that suggests Christian applications for CURRENTLY marketed effects. This would keep it fresh and relevant for the highly magic oriented readers. Maybe three or four new and popular effects per issue.

I'd also like to see a special section on making closeup magic work for effective sharing of the Gospel. You can't get much more effective than giving a powerful and moving illustrated message to someone in that intimate situation.

I originally joined FCM back in the mid '70s. After a few years, I eventually tired of the corniness, to be rather blunt. I re-joined again a couple of years ago, partly out of a desire to help support a cause more than anything else. Guess what? I found that the same effects and applications from thirty years ago are still being recycled. I still see stuff along the lines of the old "Soft Soap" effect. In fact, I think I recently actually saw "Soft Soap" advertised or mentioned in a column. Come on. I understand that this has been a staple, and that's fine. But, as mentioned in another thread here, many members eventually graduate to slightly more sophisticated magic.

The Gospel is unchanging, and that is part of its power. However, for the magic and the presentational methods, the effect is the opposite. Those need to constantly BE changing, or they lose their power as time marches on.
magic4jc
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Quote:
On 2006-12-06 20:02, fogelka wrote:
Here's what I think would make the CC a huge value. Someone or a group of someones could author a section that suggests Christian applications for CURRENTLY marketed effects. This would keep it fresh and relevant for the highly magic oriented readers. Maybe three or four new and popular effects per issue.

I'd also like to see a special section on making closeup magic work for effective sharing of the Gospel.


I totally agree here. I'd love to see Christian applications for currently marketed secular effects.

I, also, do a lot of evangelism. I typically do vanishes and re-appearances of the "Ten Commandment Coin" from livingwaters.com , and give the coin to the spec after explaining the GOSPEL.

But I'd love to see other ideas for a Salvation message with close-up, walk around magic. Of course, I am terrible with cards, but there is a lot of other close-up stuff.
Steve Hart
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I thought I would jump in and offer my two cents.....Mike (CC editor) has done a great job of publishing the Christian Conjurer. He has make some real improvements over the old days of our blessed Doc Haley.

Yet to make it a better magazine Mike needs more input from the members. I am preaching to myself just as well.

The amount of talent within the FCM is enormous. Who would be better at creativity than a Christian. After all we have direct contact with the source of all creativity.

Give it your best. Write up your favorite routine or gospel trick and send it into Mike. If you have been blessed then share with your fellow FCM members. Share your stories and inspirations. They are all gifts from God to be shared with others.

Ok now I have to write something myself and send it in.....


Steve Hart
www.SteveHartSpeaks.com
www.magic2motivate.com
"Motivational Magicians are some of the highest paid magicians, find out why?"
magicdoctor
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I love the magazine but I am a magician and would love to read more on magic and see more on big illusions.I do still like reading all the other articles over all great job!!!!
Michael Von Schroeder [url]www.vonmagic.com[/url]
mrtricky
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It is good to see this topic rekindled in recent days, and the topic itself tugs at my own personal heart strings for reasons some may appreciate.

First off, I must echo Steve Hart's comment (Hey Steve!) - Mike Stenberg has done an absolutely phenominal job with the Conjurer. The improvements he's made in the last 10 years are nothing short of amazing - expecially given the budget of an organization our size.

It is the size of our organization (and the realistic return of value of our dues) that limits the size and content of our publication. That, and as has already been discussed, the lack of input from potential contributors. This has always been the case.

The question of whether we should change the name of the organization, or focus only on one art form is another one of the perennial issues - but perhaps not the answer to how to improve the content or quality of the Conjurer. The Conjurer is the "tangible" renumeration for our membership into a niche community of Christian performers, and I think it's a wonderful vehicle as the voice of our organization.

More contributions will most likely address the majority of the wish lists presented above!

Eric Reamer
fogelka
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I'm with everyone on this. The job of putting together a publication is much bigger than people may assume, and indeed CC has come a long, long way.

As Eric mentioned, the magazine is the tangible thing that connects us to FCM. I just hope that we can find a way to use it to tap into the imagination and hearts of the younger magic-focused Christians. There are a lot of them out there who would love to learn how turn their talent for magic into a means of dynamically sharing their faith.
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